LDP must reflect on arrogance, laxity caused by Abe dominance / Pro-Koike forces must fulfill duties
〜の原動力 driving force for ...
〜と二人三脚でin tandem with...
〜を浮き彫りにする bring ... into relief
大幅に後退する suffer a major setback
政権党 party in power
挙党体制 whole-party approach
政治姿勢 political stance
苦戦bitterly fought battle
緊張関係 tension in relationship
一線を画すdraw a line
根回し behind-the-scenes maneuvering
The latest election results seem to indicate voters’ expectations for Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike’s metropolitan government to work on reform. Even more importantly, they want the Liberal Democratic Party-led administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to reflect on its arrogance and lack of seriousness. This can be described as the popular will expressed by voters in this nation’s capital.
Tomin First no Kai (Tokyoites first group), a regional party led by Koike, made a great leap forward in its first campaign for the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly election, a triumph that has enabled Tomin First to replace the LDP and secure the position of the dominant party in the metropolitan assembly.
The number of seats obtained by pro-Koike forces — Tomin First, Komeito and independents supporting her — was far greater than half of the assembly. She has succeeded in laying a stable base for the management of metropolitan politics.
Komeito ties work
The LDP suffered a historic defeat in the race. This was partly due to the adverse effects of its breakup with Komeito, despite many years of close cooperation between the two parties. The LDP was also harmed by factors such as the government’s inadequate explanations about the Kake Educational Institution issue, which should be primarily addressed in national politics, and inappropriate remarks by Defense Minister Tomomi Inada and others.
The electoral battle, in which the governor spearheaded her own regional party’s campaign, attracted a great deal of attention from Tokyo residents, as illustrated by the fact that voter turnout rose from the previous election to 51.27 percent.
The driving force for Tomin First is the high degree of personal popularity enjoyed by Koike. Backed by its successful electoral cooperation with Komeito, the regional party was the recipient of votes cast by people critical of the Abe administration. Tomin First won in a series of single-seat constituencies while also steadily gaining seats in plural-seat constituencies.
During its campaign, Komeito told voters it would work to stabilize metropolitan politics in tandem with Koike, and it fulfilled the goal of getting all its candidates elected for the seventh consecutive time.
Koike declared victory at a press conference, saying: “[The regional party’s electoral gains] were even greater than I had expected. I’ve been moved to know I’ve gained an understanding of residents in Tokyo, and at the same time, I keenly feel the weight of my responsibility.”
Since taking office in August last year, Koike has sought to ascertain the facts related to issues such as the omission of soil-laying work at the yet-to-be-opened Toyosu fish market. This has brought into relief the harmful effects caused by the lack of coordination among divisions within the metropolitan government, as well as the irresponsible nature of administrative operations there. Her avowed readiness to make metropolitan politics transparent through information disclosure was also favorably received.
Immediately before the start of official campaigning for the assembly election, Koike unveiled a plan to relocate the Tsukiji wholesale market to Toyosu while also redeveloping the former site, thereby deflecting the LDP’s accusation of Koike as “a governor who cannot make decisions.”
However, she has not yet explained the details of her plan about how to continue using the market functions of both locations. She needs to show the specifics of her plan and prospects for earnings and expenditures at an early date.